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January 16, 2016

The Miracle & Science of Knowledge and Rainbows.

Flickr/Michael Seeley

Far too often, we separate the values of knowledge and understanding, from the values of miracles.

Most of us would describe “miracles” as the moments in our lives when the extraordinary occurs, and we cannot understand or explain it. It is mysterious, thus it is divine.

Yet, however wonderful the inexplicable mysteries of life are—they are not the only types of miracles.

Let us not devalue the facts. There are many well-understood and likely circumstances that we should celebrate. Do we need confusion or surprise to validate worth? What birth or willow tree or hand-woven tapestry would we deem dull, simply because we can understand how it came to be? It is our job to manifest miraculousness in everything we know and believe to be beautiful.

I was reminded of this deep connection between knowledge and miracles this past December. I was on vacation in Florida, walking with my dog alongside the ocean. The beach was serenely soft with the gentle and familiar timbre of the waves. The morning weather was warm in the way it only is in Florida—like the entire state resides inside a drop of tepid dew. As we moved across the cool sand, I heard the ping of an incoming email. Normally, I’d ignore phone notifications that early on in the day, but I chose to check it that day (for reasons still unbeknownst to me).

It was a warm message, welcoming me and my fellow trainees to the yoga teacher training course we’d soon be taking. Happily reminded of the upcoming course and exciting journey, I pocketed my phone and smiled. Triumphant with a mere beginning, I looked ahead and there in front of me was a rainbow. That day—and the two days following it—I saw rainbows on my morning walks.

I have always loved rainbows.

Not too rare, yet not all too common either—the science behind them is fascinating and incredibly poetic. A rainbow occurs when light is scattered within water droplets, producing a gorgeous spectrum of light. The rainbow is caused by the refraction of light when it enters a droplet. The light is then reflected on the back of the droplet and refracted again whilst exiting it.

A vision of playful light, a rainbow is purely an illusion. It does not exist at any geographical point—it has no beginning or end. When we see a rainbow, we are simply viewing droplets at an angle relative to a light source. My rainbow could be both explained and fully understood. We have completely figured out this colorful phenomenon, yet it is still so often the focus of paintings and photographs. Rainbows remain a symbol of imagination, magic, hope, equality and love.

So light and water danced in the sky in front of me on the day I received great news. I knew it was the work of light, not the product of magic, and although there is hardly a difference between the two, there is a difference. The difference, however, does not depreciate its magnificence.

I wanted it to be there representing my excitement, so I let it do just that. The miracle was not mysterious, impossible or rare. It was a reminder of my joy. If the rainbow had not been there, I may have said my walk was a miraculous metaphor for this course that would move me forward. But I saw a rainbow—I saw three rainbows in three days, and both logic and love tell me that they were to be my chosen miracles.

So the point is—our lives present us with a collection of beautiful moments, and we must choose for them to be miraculous. It is not our job to be cynical. Magic is not ignorant, and pessimism is not linked to being a realist. Realists can be both dreamers and thinkers. Realists should be both dreamers and thinkers.

We can still experience a world of science, knowledge and rainbows with wonderment and awe. Not because we don’t understand it—but because we do.

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Relephant:

Poem for a Rainbow Like You. 

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Author: Alexandra Pellegrino

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Michael Seeley

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Alexandra Pellegrino